Lemon & Thyme Shortbread


Last week I wrote about the long car journey that, more often than not, has to be endured when holidaying in this country and how the highlight is often the lunchtime stop-off. car journey picnic

As a young child, many of our holidays were taken in this country: the Isle of Wight, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset. I remember being in the back of our family car, legs all sweaty sticking to the vinyl seats, luggage strapped to the roof rack and I-SPY book in hand. The other thing I remember was stopping for lunch. It was usually a simple affair: corned beef and pickle sandwiches wrapped in tin foil, an apple and maybe a piece of homemade cake eaten in a layby looking out onto the patchwork fields that beckoned us onwards. To me the combined aroma of the sandwiches and the hot car interior was the smell of a holiday beginning: it was a meal I always enjoyed.

Even now as adult on a long car journey, the thought of stopping off for a homemade lunch can spur me on no end. So what's my food of choice on a long car journey? Well, personally I love to make homemade pasties which I serve with a simple salad of leaves, cherry tomatoes, radishes and such like (take the dressing in a separate container) or maybe generous deep-filled sandwiches made with decent crusty bread and wrapped in greaseproof paper (so much nicer than cling film). It's also good to have lots of pots of ‘picky things’ such as olives, crisps, crudites and dips. Then, of course, a sweet treat to have with a flask of tea. With the nature of long car journeys being as they are, it is always advisable to have a sweet treat to hand. These Lemon & Thyme Shortbread biscuits are perfect: they can be served as part of your picnic lunch with berries and crème fraîche or, if you don't have the willpower to wait until lunchtime, they can be enjoyed as is. A word of warning though: these biscuits are extremely morish. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Above image via: http://poppiesandsunshine.blogspot.co.uk


Lemon & Thyme Shortbread Biscuits

Makes approx 48

400g plain flour 2 tsp baking powder pinch of salt 2 tbsp finely chopped lemon thyme leaves (or ordinary thyme will do) 225g unsalted butter, softened 300g caster sugar 2 tbsp finely grated unwaxed lemon zest 1 free-range egg beaten Juice of a lemon

1. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and stir in the salt and thyme.

2. Cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until pale and fluffy. Add the egg a little at a time, beating after each addition, then slowly add the dry ingredients mixing well and dribbling in a little lemon juice until the mixture comes together as a dough. Go careful with the juice as the dough shouldn't be too wet.

3. Roll the dough into two log shapes each about 5cm in diameter. This way, each log will make roughly 24 biscuits, so you could save one log for a later time should you wish to do so. Wrap each log tightly in clingfilm and place in the fridge for a couple of hours. However it will remain good like this in the fridge for up to two days.

4. When you are ready to bake the biscuits, preheat the oven to 190C/375F/GM 5. Line a couple of baking sheets with greaseproof paper.

5. Unwrap the clingfilm and slice off rounds of approx 5mm in thickness. Place these on the baking sheet making sure you leave some space between them as they will spread somewhat in the oven. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, until the edges are just tinged and golden. Carefully remove them with a palette knife and place them on a rack to cool. Pack into an air-tight tupperware box and enjoy them on your journey.